How the U.S.-Mexico Border Became a Political Flashpoint (by John Donovan, HowStuffWorks)

"[The border] became this site, an object, a metaphor even, where we misplaced very real economic insecurities and social anxieties," Jusionyte says. "So it is the wrong answer to very important questions about the conditions of our society." 

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Research article "The Wall and the Wash" published in Anthropology Today

Based on ethnographic research with firefighters trained as EMTs (emergency medical technicians) or paramedics in northern Sonora and southern Arizona, this article in Anthropology Today takes the vantage point of emergency responders on both sides of the US-Mexico border to trace the harmful effects of the security assemblage on those who inhabit and trespass this militarized landscape. Interested in the materiality of security – how its discursive and affective qualities are anchored in urban and desert terrain by means of infrastructure and technology – this article focuses on two such ‘anchors’, the wall and the wash, in order to address the legal and ethical issues that result from the deployment of tactical infrastructure on the border.

Ieva Jusionyte: US, Mexico depend on each other in emergencies

When Republican presidential candidates talk about the U.S.-Mexico border, they emphasize the need to strengthen security by building a bigger wall, arguing that these measures would seal the country and prevent the movement of illicit drugs and unwanted people. Gov. Doug Ducey’s recent announcement of a Border Drug Strike Force also focuses on combating traffickers. What proponents of border fortification fail to understand is that in emergencies, such as wildland fires and chemical spills, communities in the southern fringe of this country rely on receiving help from Mexico. Instead of planning how to separate the U.S. from Mexico, it is in the government’s best interest to pass legislation that facilitates binational cooperation. Continue reading:


Interview about the project with


Publicado el noviembre 2, 2015 por 

Marco A. Flores
Nogales, Sonora.- Como ejemplar calificó la colaboración y trabajo realizado entre bomberos de la franja fronteriza de Sonora y Arizona, la profesora lituana Ieva Jusionyte, quien visitó Nogales como parte de un estudio para la elaboración de un libro, en la Universidad de Florida.

La maestra del Departamento de Antropología del Centro y Latinoamérica de la Universidad de Florida estuvo por periodo de dos semanas en esta frontera, con el propósito de estudiar la forma de trabajar de los bomberos en la región.

Dicha visita fue gracias una beca de una fundación nacional de ciencias, para escribir un libro sobre cooperación binacional de bomberos y de protección civil entre Sonora y Arizona.

Jusionyte dijo que empezó con su investigación desde mayo pasado, con visitas de varias semanas a los departamentos de bomberos en Nogales, Arizona, Arivaca, Río Rico, Suburban y terminó trabajando en Nogales, Sonora, con el apoyo del teniente Víctor Garay, del cuerpo “Gustavo L. Manríquez”.

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Using Marijuana Bale as a Splint

Before the checkpoint was placed on Hwy 286 near Three Points there were multiple MVAs that would occur along that stretch of highway between Sasabe and Three Points. I can recall an MVA involving drug smugglers where they were being followed by USBP and when USBP lighted up and attempted to pull over the driver and occupant became nervous and attempted to flee. They were driving a white pickup truck that was fully loaded with marijuana. They lost control of their vehicle at approximately MP 9 on Hwy 286 and rolled several times coming to a stop in the upright position.

Arivaca Fire then a volunteer department was dispatched. Three personnel were enroute to the scene in an ambulance and an engine. U/A met by USBP who claimed they had two pts. First patient had been ejected during the crash and the second was trapped in the vehicle. LN4 from Tubac was launched.

I remember the first thing I saw as I was walking towards the scene were pot bales strewn about the landscape. They were everywhere. USBP was armed on scene and needed everyone’s names for documentation. My job was to attend to the trapped occupant. My partner and I used our extrication tools to remove the driver side door and the roof of the vehicle. The driver’s seat was broken and because we had to stabilize the patient we used what we had near us to stabilize the seat during extrication. That “something” happened to be a bale of marijuana as it was the right size and weight. I have learned in this business you use what you have available to use.

Due to the severity of the accident and the fact that both patients needed access to ALS and Arivaca Fire at that time was only BLS it was imperative that we stabilize the patients for transport while awaiting the arrival of the helo. The driver had a severe head injury and was unconscious.

Due to limited personnel, we were unable to extricate the patient and provide needed pt care so we held off on extrication and attended to the patients until the arrival of additional units. Once LN4 arrived on scene their Flight Nurse took over patient care while we then extricated the patient. The patient, still unconscious, was placed on LSB and lifted out of the top of the vehicle where the roof had been. The Flight Medic assumed pt care for the other patient who was ultimately transported by ground.

Both patients were transported to UMC due to it being the closest trauma center. Both patients survived.

The biggest challenge for this call was the fact that there was limited personnel and this was a very complex scene. We easily could’ve used medical and fire personnel who each had their jobs to perform but in this case while all three of us were both fire and medical trained we didn’t have the luxury of delegating specific responsibilities. We had to do it all! That was and is almost always the case in rural areas such as this.

This call made the KVOA news. It was circa 2005 or 2006.

Nogales International: Fire Crews Prepare For Rescues

News piece in Nogales International (September 22, 2015; page 10A) about the Del Campo warehouse drill, which took place in Rio Rico, Arizona in mid September. Pictures show firefighters from the Nogales Fire Department, who participated in training together with Tubac Fire District, Rio Rico Fire District, Green Valley Fire District, as well as bomberos from Nogales, Imuris and Santa Ana in Sonora, Mexico. For more pictures see the gallery